Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed a handful of bills into
law intended to make roadways in Kansas safer.
One new law requires people driving on a four-lane highway
to move into the left lane before passing road crews or emergency vehicles that
are parked by the road with their lights flashing. If it is not practical to
merge into the furthest lane away from an emergency or construction vehicle,
drivers must slow down on approach before passing.
The safety provision – S411 – takes effect in July.
Violators will receive warnings – not tickets – until July 1, 2007. At that
time, those found in violation would face a $180 fine.
Another bill signed into law, previously H2916, requires
that drivers convicted of second, third or fourth drunken driving offenses to
have their driver’s licenses suspended for two years. After the first year,
those convicted could have their driving privileges restored if they can show
proof of the installation of an ignition interlock device.
The devices provide immediate breath tests to determine if a
driver has consumed alcohol.
The new rule takes effect July 1.
One other bill signed into law would establish more severe
penalties for leaving the scene of an automobile accident.
The law, previously H2748, makes it a felony to leave the scene
of an automobile accident where someone was seriously injured or killed. Under
existing state law, leaving the scene of an injury accident is only a
It also makes it a misdemeanor to leave the scene of an
injury accident or accident with property damage in excess of $1,000.
Another provision in the bill mandates a practice that is
second nature to most professional truck drivers and other motorists.
Drivers will be required to flip on their headlights
whenever their windshield wipers are in “continuous use” due to rain, sleet or
snow. They also will be required to have their headlights on when smoke or fog
limits visibility to a distance of 1,000 feet.
To be ticketed for violating the rule, drivers first would
need to be pulled over for another offense, such as speeding. It takes effect
Meanwhile, a similar effort in Wisconsin to require
headlights to be illuminated when weather limits visibility failed passage. The
bill remained in a Senate committee when the session ended this month. It
passed the Assembly early this year.
Sponsored by Rep. John Ainsworth, R-Shawano, AB98 would have
required lights to be on whenever visibility is limited. The bill defined that
as “any time that climatic conditions limit visibility such that objects on a
highway are not clearly discernible at 500 feet from the front of a vehicle.”
Fines would have been up to $20 for the first offense and as
much as $50 for the second and subsequent offenses within a year.
The effort could be reintroduced in the legislative session
that begins in January 2007.